Red Moon, Blue Sun: Episodes 31-32 (Final)
The final episode means our heroes have no choice but to face the truth about Red Cry and the little girl in the green dress. While this drama may not have been the easiest to watch due to its bleak and disturbing subject matter, it has been one of the most gripping and intriguing shows I’ve seen in a long time, and, unlike Woo-kyung’s childhood memories, will remain with me for a long time.
FINAL EPISODES RECAP
Confronting her stepmother, Woo-kyung accuses her of killing the real Se-kyung. Woo-kyung reveals that her memories have returned. Mom explains that it was a struggle trying to keep the child Se-kyung clean, and that during one of the baths, Se-kyung caught pneumonia and died.
Woo-kyung wearily points out that Mom is hiding the truth yet again, having just changed her story from losing Se-kyung at the amusement park to her dying due to pneumonia. But Mom insists the death-from-pneumonia story is true — besides, it’s not like Woo-kyung can prove anything different.
Arrested and taken down to the police station, Dr. Yoon — in his calm, affable way — explains to Ji-heon that he pretended to not know Eun-ho was his brother because he didn’t want to worry his other patients, because it wouldn’t look good being related to a murderer.
Dr. Yoon insists that he only found out about Eun-ho a few months ago when Eun-ho made a delivery on behalf of the children’s center. Recognizing Eun-ho’s name, Dr. Yoon asked if he was the same boy from the orphanage where Dr. Yoon and the baby Eun-ho had been transferred after being found at the pier. Their reunion was more awkward than emotional, since they were essentially strangers.
The doctor knows that being related to Eun-ho isn’t a crime, and laughs at the idea that Ji-heon suspects him of murder just because Dr. Yoon has connections to the hospital where Shi-wan’s mother was going to start working after she and Shi-wan fled to America.
Realizing that Dr. Yoon isn’t going to admit anything, Ji-heon decides on a new approach. He orders Soo-young to leave the interrogation room so there’s no official record, then Ji-heon shuts off the cameras and locks the door. Taking off his badge, Ji-heon kicks the table away and sits close to Dr. Yoon, demanding to know if he’s pleased that Eun-ho took the fall for all those deaths.
Ji-heon weaves a story where Dr. Yoon was the true mastermind behind Red Cry. Dr. Yoon spins the story back around, pointing out that the real villain is Ji-heon who willingly sent Ha-na to go live with her horrible father. Eun-ho was the one who saved Ha-na. Plus, how can Ji-heon call Eun-ho a murderer when Ji-heon was the one who killed Eun-ho?
Pulling out his pen, Dr. Yoon starts to idly tap it in a rhythmically hypnotic manner as he persuasively reminds Ji-heon that when Ji-heon killed Eun-ho, he wasn’t proud to catch a murderer. Instead, Ji-heon felt guilty since he knew Eun-ho was in the right.
Dr. Yoon, in his smooth hypnotic voice, says that Ji-heon doesn’t really want to catch Red Cry, because Ji-heon knows that Red Cry can do what Ji-heon can’t. But the trance doesn’t fully work on Ji-heon, despite the tear that slips silently down his cheek.
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You didn’t catch a criminal, you murdered a savior
Ji-heon snaps out of the trance, angrily accusing the doctor of trying to trick him. Laughing, Dr. Yoon says he thought Ji-heon was level-headed and rational — but Ji-heon’s actually quite emotional. The doctor adds that he doesn’t manipulate anyone — he merely speaks the truth. And one of those truths is that he’s not Red Cry.
Ji-heon’s rattled by his encounter with Dr. Yoon, but he can’t hold the doctor without evidence, so Dr. Yoon is released. Ji-heon brings Woo-kyung in, revealing that Dr. Yoon is related to Eun-ho. He’s also convinced that Dr. Yoon is Red Cry, although Woo-kyung refuses to believe it. Ji-heon warns her to be careful around Dr. Yoon, anyway.
After Woo-kyung leaves the police station, she gets a message from Red Cry, telling her she needs to look for her sister’s body. Red Cry believes that Woo-kyung’s stepmother is a liar.
Woo-kyung goes to Dr. Yoon’s office and asks him why he hid the fact that he was Eun-ho’s brother. After all, she’s been the doctor’s friend since college — he could have at least told her about finding his brother.
Dr. Yoon instead shifts the conversation, asking about Woo-kyung’s search for her sister. Woo-kyung vaguely says that she hasn’t come to any conclusions yet, but is shocked when Dr. Yoon says the exact same thing as Red Cry when he tells her to find her sister’s body, since that will be the only way to make her stepmother tell the truth.
Even though she’s refused to believe that Dr. Yoon could be Red Cry, Woo-kyung starts to doubt and asks him point-blank if he’s Red Cry. Dr. Yoon plays dumb, insisting he’s only speaking the obvious — her stepmother has lied to her all her life, so Woo-kyung now needs to go to extremes to find out the truth.
When Woo-kyung arrives at her stepmother’s home, however, she discovers Mom has fainted. Woo-kyung rushes Mom to the hospital, where the doctors tell her that Mom’s condition is getting worse and she may not have much longer to live.
Woo-kyung goes to Se-kyung, telling her the truth: Se-kyung is actually the birth daughter of the woman they’ve always thought to be their stepmother. Se-kyung is shocked and furious, unable to believe that the woman who treated her so coldly all her life is her mother by blood.
Feeling betrayed, Se-kyung angrily decides she doesn’t want to go through with the stem cell treatment. But Woo-kyung pleads with her — they need to save Mom’s life so that they can find out the truth about the real Se-kyung. They can’t let Mom go to her grave with such an important secret.
Woo-kyung takes Se-kyung to Mom’s hospital room, but Mom can’t seem to look at her child. Se-kyung realizes that when she lived with her grandmother, she thought that her grandmother called her “Song-yi” as a nickname, but now she knows that’s her real name. Se-kyung asks why Mom is so determined to die, and Mom wearily says that it’s penance for her sins.
With tears in her eyes, Se-kyung relents and decides that she’ll go through with the stem cell treatment. She needs Mom to live so that her mother — not her stepmother, but her mother — can finally care for her daughter the way that Se-kyung (or, rather, Song-yi) should have been cared for all her life.
Meanwhile, Woo-kyung’s still in communication with Red Cry, who suggests that if her stepmother won’t reveal the truth, then Woo-kyung should do some research and figure out where a child’s body could be hidden.
Woo-kyung’s first step is to pick Ji-heon’s brain, since she assumes a detective would know where people would hide dead bodies. He’s curious why she’s asking him, but she doesn’t elaborate. However, he’s been keeping a worried and watchful eye on Woo-kyung, and intuits that she’s searching for her dead sister.
He asks what she’ll do when she finds the body — will she judge her stepmother? Woo-kyung denies everything, but Ji-heon warns her that just like Red Cry focused on Shi-wan, so will Red Cry focus on her. Woo-kyung simply says that she just wants the truth.
Ji-heon cautions her that she hasn’t been fully tested by Red Cry yet, and eventually Red Cry will drag her over to the dark side. When that happens, he asks that Woo-kyung call him first.
While Mom and Se-kyung/Song-yi go through the stem cell treatment, Woo-kyung returns to her stepmother’s home — her childhood home. Thanks to Ji-heon’s expert advice that killers generally keep a body nearby so they can make sure nothing happens to it, she tries to figure out where Se-kyung’s body might be.
Using an original blueprint of the house to compare to the current size of the rooms, Woo-kyung realizes that the fireplace was not a part of the original plan.
The fireplace definitely has been a source of creepy contention for Se-kyung/Song-yi and Mom, so Woo-kyung grabs a crowbar and pickaxe, and begins to whack away at it. Beneath the stone floor, she unearths something in a thick cloth bag — peeking out of the bag is a scrap of green fabric. It’s the green dress.
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Finding hell under the fireplace
This is the point of no return that Eun-ho had warned her about, when she would find out the truth and all hell would break loose, just like it did for him. Pulling out the bag of her long-dead sister’s remains, Woo-kyung collapses in heart-wrenching sobs. She hugs the dirty cloth to her chest as she weeps over the realization that she’s finally found Se-kyung.
Mom wakes up in the hospital, where she’s still going through the stem cell treatment. But she’s shocked to see a weary and dirty Woo-kyung staring down at her. Woo-kyung drags Mom out of the hospital and back home, showing her the child skeleton and dress that’s been unearthed.
As Mom kneels in grief, Woo-kyung demands to know why her stepmother lied. Woo-kyung can’t believe that her parents happily lived their life in this house for the past thirty years, eating and drinking and laughing and watching TV in a room that contained the body of their dead child.
Mom finally confesses that, on the day she got angry at Se-kyung for being noisy and ripped the green dress, Se-kyung was actually fine after her bath. But Se-kyung died in her sleep that night, which is why young Woo-kyung couldn’t wake her up. There were bruises on Se-kyung, though, from the abuse she endured whenever Mom dragged her to the bathtub.
When Mom and Woo-kyung’s father were trying to figure out what to tell Woo-kyung, they realized that Woo-kyung was happily watching TV, having apparently lost her memory, likely due to the shock of finding her sister dead. That’s when they decided to quietly bury Se-kyung and convince Woo-kyung that Song-yi was really her sister.
It’s hard to know if anything Mom says is true, but Mom insists that she didn’t know that scolding Se-kyung for being dirty would end in such a way. Mom tearfully says she’s suffered, too, all these years having to raise Woo-kyung and her daughter as the fake Se-kyung.
Furious, Woo-kyung shakes Mom and makes her look at Se-kyung’s remains, asking how this could have happened to a mere child. Mom retorts that it’s more painful to live than to die. Besides, it’s not like she killed Se-kyung on purpose — it was an accident!
Woo-kyung’s rage continues to boil over as she screams that her stepmother has no right to be called a mother. Much like the night she grabbed the knife after her fight with her husband, Woo-kyung’s fury compels her to reach for a hammer and raise it threateningly over her cowering stepmother.
But a small hand stops her — it’s the little girl in the green dress. This time, instead of wondering who the little girl is, Woo-kyung starts to sob as child Se-kyung gently holds Woo-kyung’s face. Woo-kyung’s rage dissipates as she weeps, tightly hugging her sister.
Of course, the little girl in the green dress — Se-kyung — is only a hallucination. But Woo-kyung’s rage is contained nonetheless, and she stares at her sister’s remains in the fireplace, apologizing for everything that happened.
Woo-kyung then calls Ji-heon, letting him know she’s found her sister. Ji-heon and the other detectives immediately race over and turn Woo-kyung’s childhood home into a crime scene as they gather evidence. Soo-kyung takes Mom back to the hospital, and Ji-heon stays with Woo-kyung, who’s still in a state of shock.
He reassures Woo-kyung that Se-kyung’s remains will be confirmed via DNA testing, and admits that the reason he’d asked Woo-kyung to call if she felt like she was going over the edge was so that she didn’t up like Eun-ho. Woo-kyung begins to cry again as she realizes that Se-kyung was the one who stopped her murderous rage, and is the only reason she didn’t seek the same kind of vengeance Eun-ho did.
As the case is investigated, Woo-kyung informs Red Cry that Mom can’t be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired. Red Cry asks if Woo-kyung forgives her stepmother, but Woo-kyung can still barely comprehend what’s happening.
Ji-heon finds a senior officer rudely berating Soo-young, who meekly accepts the verbal abuse. Ji-heon steps in, defending his partner and warning the senior officer that if there’s a problem, then he’d better talk to Ji-heon first.
When they return to their office, Chan-wook is delighted to inform them that he’s figured out how Dr. Yoon managed to glean information that not even the children’s counselors or the detectives could discover. Dr. Yoon gives his patients a special hypnotic drug that lowers their defense mechanism. That then allows him access to their innermost secrets and memories, but without anyone being aware of his interference.
It sounds ridiculous, but whatever, we’ll roll with it, because now there’s no hiding the fact that Dr. Yoon is Red Cry. His face is clearly seen to us as he types his messages to Woo-kyung.
Woo-kyung dazedly goes through the motions of her life, finding it difficult to connect to anything, especially her stepmother. Red Cry/Dr. Yoon’s messages continue unabated as he reminds Woo-kyung that she saved her stepmother’s life, given her a new chance, even though Se-kyung’s life stopped at age five.
As she watches the adult Se-kyung/Song-yi and Mom grow closer, Woo-kyung ruminates over Red Cry/Dr. Yoon’s latest message, which asks if she can accept the fact that her stepmother is still alive.
At the police station, Ji-heon notes that Soo-young disappeared, and Chan-wook reveals it’s because she left with her stepbrother. Chan-wook’s looked into the guy’s records and discovered that the stepbrother has a gambling problem, which routinely gets him in trouble with the law. Ji-heon does a little investigating and realizes that Soo-young has been trying to cover up for her stepbrother’s crimes.
Ji-heon searches for her, and is shocked to find Soo-young curled up in a fetal position as her stepbrother ruthlessly kicks her. Ji-heon shoves the guy away, but her stepbrother fights back. Ji-heon’s no slouch when it comes to defending himself, and he pummels the stepbrother until Soo-young intervenes.
Later, Ji-heon asks her why she let her stepbrother beat her up, and Soo-young says that it’s because she wouldn’t steal evidence for him. Ji-heon, knowing full well that Soo-young is more than capable of fighting her own battles, finds it hard to believe she’d just lie there and take the beating. Soo-young quietly confesses that, after her mother remarried, she learned as a young child to endure her stepbrother’s abuse in order to not be an annoyance for the newly combined family.
Ji-heon’s outraged on her behalf, and orders her not to meet her stepbrother alone again — she should take Ji-heon or Chan-wook along with her the next time she needs to see her stepbrother. Aw, Soo-young’s essentially just replaced her abusive stepbrother with two new and improved “brothers.”
Woo-kyung checks on her stepmother, asking if she’ll be okay without a caregiver for the weekend. Mom says that she’s ready to be on her own, anyway. Woo-kyung asks if Mom is really happy, but Mom simply says she’s just living. Before she bids her mother goodnight, Woo-kyung murmurs that Mom shouldn’t look so happy. That feels ominous.
Red Cry/Dr. Yoon sends Woo-kyung a message, confirming that she’s sure she wants to “go through with it.” Woo-kyung insists she won’t have any regrets. Then she asks him why he does all this in the first place. He says it’s the same reason that she does it — out of guilt and fury. Uh oh. This can’t be good.
That night, Dr. Yoon, in the trademark Red Cry black hoodie, breaks into Mom’s house and immediately heads to her bedroom. But the moment his hand touches the door handle, Woo-kyung calls out his name. She’s been sitting in the living room, waiting for him.
Dr. Yoon asks if she’s changed her mind, but Woo-kyung says her mind has always been the same — she’s always chosen life (and the opportunity it brings). Yes, she’s still furious with her stepmother, so much so that she could kill the woman herself. But who is she to judge and decide that someone’s life isn’t worth living?
Ji-heon and Soo-young run into the room, their guns at the ready. This was all a trap to catch Red Cry/Dr. Yoon.
Dr. Yoon seems genuinely angry and surprised by Woo-kyung’s betrayal, but he finally throws his hands up in surrender.
Ji-heon can’t hide his gleeful satisfaction as he interrogates Dr. Yoon, who confesses that he did, indeed, kill Shi-wan’s father. Dr. Yoon also admits that he’s Red Cry.
Ji-heon knows that there’s no way Dr. Yoon and Eun-ho could have remained strangers during their work as Red Cry, and Dr. Yoon reveals that Eun-ho came to him for a consultation about his insomnia due to his nightmares about the big desk.
Dr. Yoon treated Eun-ho through hypnosis, and in doing so, he experienced Eun-ho’s memories of the abuse the younger man endured at the hand of the senior director. The anger the two men felt about that memory was the impetus for them creating Red Cry — which was created exactly as Eun-ho described, except Dr. Yoon was also a founding member.
Dr. Yoon did all the research, and Eun-ho was the one who fulfilled the punishment. Ji-heon wonders if Dr. Yoon became the punisher once Eun-ho died, but Dr. Yoon says that Shi-wan and Woo-kyung’s cases were ones he personally wanted to take care of.
Shi-wan and Woo-kyung’s grief over their inability to save their younger siblings, and their relief that they escaped the abuse their siblings endured, were exactly the same emotions Dr. Yoon felt once he realized what kind of life Eun-ho had experienced as a child.
It was the guilt due to his relief that he wasn’t abused like the other children, and the rage from seeing children abused without anyone doing anything about it, that helped create Red Cry.
Ji-heon admits he feels the same murderous rage when it comes to child abuse, but unlike those connected to Red Cry, he knows it’s not his place to be the abusers judge, jury, and executioner.
With Red Cry officially captured, the case is also officially closed. Ji-heon despondently turns in his case file to Captain Hong, wondering if the captain ever felt conflicted about capturing a criminal.
Captain Hong reminds Ji-heon that he had warned the younger detective to not get personally involved. But he reassures Ji-heon that it’s okay if he’s conflicted about the results — it’s part of being a cop. The trick — which isn’t easy — is to just focus on the next case and the next criminal.
At the pier, Woo-kyung sets down flowers in remembrance of Eun-ho. Ji-heon meets her there, and Woo-kyung tells him that Eun-ho was jealous of his life, since he assumed Ji-heon must have had an easy childhood.
Ji-heon muses that, unlike Eun-ho who loved being surrounded by kids, Ji-heon’s never gotten along with them. He instinctively thought of kids as a nuisance and a burden, which makes me think those are things his parents called him when he was growing up and is likely why he hated the thought of his girlfriend being pregnant.
But Ji-heon confesses that, after working with children like Ha-na who so easily showed him affection, perhaps children wouldn’t be such a terrible burden after all.
Woo-kyung admits she hasn’t been able to forgive her stepmother yet, and doubts that she ever will. But she won’t completely cut ties because of how much Eun-seo loves her grandmother. Which is probably why Dr. Yoon was so furious with her, since she chose to let her stepmother live instead of punishing her.
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Being alive gives you possibilities
Later, in her stepmother’s living room, Woo-kyung reads the children’s story of Red Moon, Blue Sun:
Terrified of the darkness, the moon cried every night. “Sister, I’m scared!” The sun, who felt bad for her younger sister, decided to switch places. That’s why the blue sun came to shine on us at night, and the red moon now shines during the day. The Red Moon became the sun, and the Blue Sun became the moon.
I wasn’t sure how this drama would be able to resolve everything in just one hour, but somehow it all worked. I don’t mind that not every loose end was perfectly tied up — I don’t need to know the details about Ji-heon’s childhood when this show has taught me to read between the lines, inferring that he likely heard himself called “nuisance” and “burdensome,” which is why he was so afraid of having children. I don’t need to see Soo-young get justice against her horrible stepbrother, because she now has Ji-heon and Chan-wook to create a new brotherly bond with. I don’t need to know what kind of criminal sentence Dr. Yoon faces for the murders he’s committed, because I know he’ll forever be tortured over the guilt for what happened to his brother. I don’t need to see Woo-kyung finally forgive her stepmother, if she ever does.
Justice is never as easy or simple as we would like it to be, even though dramas so often excel at giving us the satisfaction we crave. The good guys win! The bad guys lose! But who, exactly, are the good guys or the bad guys? Are the police the “good” guys because they catch criminals? But they’re also the ones that allowed these children to be abused in the first place — if there’s no proof of anything illegal, then there’s nothing the cops can do about it. Ha-na was returned to her dog-butcher father because the courts decided he wasn’t a threat. Does that then mean the police are the villains?
We can all agree that Ha-jung’s death was unnecessary — she felt truly contrite about the way she treated her daughter, so there was no reason to convince her to kill herself. In that way, Red Cry is the villain for an unjust death. But then it was also so satisfying to see Ha-na’s father hanging from a butcher’s hook like one of his dogs. How can we both revile and cheer for a murderer? Are we the good guys? Or the bad guys?
Life is messy and complicated and the reasons people do the things they do — or the excuses they give themselves for acting the way they do — are also messy and complicated. Awful people exist in this world. They always have, and they always will. I can’t deny that there might be a part of me that wishes Red Cry could appear and somehow right the wrongs that the official systems can’t seem to fix on their own.
But, like Woo-kyung, I also know that life is precious and dynamic. The actions someone committed thirty years ago may have been truly horrific, but what of that time in-between? What about the lessons learned along the way that have shaped them to be a different person than they once were? What about the potential of who they could become in another thirty years? Yes, there’s always a chance someone could go down a path that’s darker and more horrific than the one they’re on — but there’s also a chance that they could make the world a better place for themselves and their loved ones. By allowing her stepmother to live, Woo-kyung gave her (step)sister the ability to receive the mother’s love and care that she had never experienced before. Maybe Mom will never be redeemed in Woo-kyung’s eyes, but because Woo-kyung wasn’t her stepmother’s judge, Se-kyung can now discover a new life as Song-yi.
It breaks my heart, of course, that Woo-kyung learned all these lessons at the cost of her younger sister who never had a chance to see past age five. But Se-kyung — the real Se-kyung — still managed to live on, being the source of peace and reassurance that her older sister needed. The little girl in the green dress was the reason Woo-kyung could rein in her murderous fury, to keep her from becoming completely like Eun-ho or Dr. Yoon. Maybe Woo-kyung wasn’t able to save her sister, but in the end her sister was able to save Woo-kyung.
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